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  1. Barbara Abbott, The Formal Approach to Meaning: Formal Semantics and its Recent Developments.
    Like Spanish moss on a live oak tree, the scientific study of meaning in language has expanded in the last 100 years, and continues to expand steadily. In this essay I want to chart some central themes in that expansion, including their histories and their important figures. Our attention will be directed toward what is called 'formal semantics', which is the adaptation to natural language of analytical techniques from logic.[1] The first, background, section of the paper will survey the changing (...)
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  2. Barbara Abbott, The Indefiniteness of Definiteness.
    This paper is about the difficulties involved in establishing criteria for definiteness. A number of possibilities are considered – traditional ones such as strength, uniqueness, and familiarity, as well as several which have been suggested in the wake of Montague’s analysis of NPs as generalized quantifiers. My tentative conclusion is that Russell’s uniqueness characteristic (suitably modified) holds up well against the others.
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  3. Barbara Abbott, Andrew Kehler & Gregory Ward, A Note on Kehler & Ward (2006).
    expression that indicates hearer-familiarity conversationally implicates that the referent is in fact nonfamiliar to the hearer” (KW 177, emphasis in original, footnote added). The purpose of this note is two-fold: first, to look more closely at the proposed implicature; and second, to clarify its relation to a different implicature – a scalar implicature of nonuniqueness resulting from use of the indefinite rather than the definite article, which was proposed by Hawkins (1991). In the first section below we distinguish explicit from (...)
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  4. Barbara Abbott, Asian, and African Languages; and Philosophy.
    This chapter reviews issues surrounding theories of reference. The simplest theory is the Fido-Fido theory – that reference is all that an NP has to contribute to the meaning of phrases and sentences in which it occurs. Two big problems for this theory are coreferential NPs that do not behave as though they were semantically equivalent and meaningful NPs without a referent. These problems are especially acute in sentences..
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  5. Barbara Abbott, Analyticity and Nondescriptionality[*] Michigan State University Abbottb@Msu.Edu.
    One of the widely accepted and quite influential conclusions of modern Anglo-American philosophy is that there is no sharp distinction between analytic truths and statements that are true only [by] virtue of the facts; what had been called analytic truths in earlier work, it is alleged, are simply expressions of deeply held belief. This conclusion seems quite erroneous. There is no fact about the world that I could discover that would convince me that you persuaded John to go to college (...)
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  6. Barbara Abbott, Definiteness and Identification in English.
    Many characterizations of definiteness in natural language have been given. However a number of them converge on a single idea involving uniqueness of applicability of a property. This paper will attempt to do two things. One is to try to unify some of these current views of definiteness, seeing them as drawing out Gricean conversational implicatures of the uniqueness concept, and the other is to try a more articulated approach to dealing with some recalcitrant counterexamples. I will focus primarily, but (...)
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  7. Barbara Abbott, Issues in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Definite Descriptions in English.
  8. Barbara Abbott, Presuppositions, Negation, and Existence.
    Last year (2005) marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of Russell’s classic ‘On denoting’. It should not cast any shadow on that great work to note that the problems it provided solutions to are still the subject of controversy. Two of those problems involved noun phrases (NPs) which fail to denote. Russell’s examples (1a) and (1b) (1) a. The king of France is bald. b. The king of France is not bald. are puzzling because they have the form of (...)
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  9. Barbara Abbott, Reference and Quantification: The Partee Effect.
    Partee (1973) discussed quotation from the perspective of the then relatively new theory of transformational grammar.2 As she pointed out, the phenomenon presents many curious puzzles. In some ways quotes seem quite separate from their surrounding text; they may be in a different dialect, as in her example in (1), (1) ‘I talk better English than the both of youse!’ shouted Charles, thereby convincing me that he didn’t. [Partee (1973):ex. 20] or even in a different language, as in (2): (2) (...)
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  10. Barbara Abbott, Specificity and Referentiality.
  11. Barbara Abbott, Some Remarks on Indicative Conditionals.
    We will look at several theories of indicative conditionals grouped into three categories: those that base its semantics on its logical counterpart (the material conditional); intensional analyses, which bring in alternative possible worlds; and a third subgroup which denies that indicative conditionals express propositions at all. We will also look at some problems for each kind of approach.
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  12. Barbara Abbott, The Difference Between Definite and Indefinite Descriptions.
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  13. Barbara Abbott, Where Have Some of the Presuppositions Gone?
    Some presuppositions seem to be weaker than others in the sense that they can be more easily neutralized in some contexts. For example some factive verbs, most notably epistemic factives like know, be aware, and discover, are known to shed their factivity fairly easily in contexts such as are found in (1). (1) a. …if anyone discovers that the method is also wombat-proof, I’d really like to know! b. Mrs. London is not aware that there have ever been signs erected (...)
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  14. Barbara Abbott & Laurence R. Hom, Nonfamiliarity and Indefinite Descriptions.
    Grice introduced generalized conversational implicatures with the following example: "Anyone who uses a sentence of the formX is meeting tz woman this evening would normally implicate that the person to be met was someone other than X’s wife, mother, sister, or perhaps even close platonic friend" (1975 : 37). Concerning this example, he suggested the following account: When someone, by using the form of expression an JQ implicates that the X does not belong to or is not otherwise closely connected (...)
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  15. Barbara Abbott (2013). Linguistic Solutions to Philosophical Problems: The Case of Knowing How. Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):1-21.
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  16. Barbara Abbott (2011). Attitudes Toward Quotation1. In Elke Brendel (ed.), Understanding Quotation. De Gruyter Mouton. 7--35.
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  17. Barbara Abbott (2011). Support for Individual Concepts. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 10:23-44.
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  18. Barbara Abbott, Manuel Bremer, Elke Brendel, Sarah-Jane Conrad, Cathrine Fabricius Hansen & Manuel García-Carpintero (2011). Contributors to This Volume. In Elke Brendel (ed.), Understanding Quotation. De Gruyter Mouton.
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  19. Barbara Abbott (2010). Reference. Oxford University Press.
    This book introduces the most important problems of reference and considers the solutions that have been proposed to explain them. Reference is at the centre of debate among linguists and philosophers and, as Barbara Abbott shows, this has been the case for centuries. She begins by examining the basic issue of how far reference is a two place (words-world) or a three place (speakers-words-world) relation. She then discusses the main aspects of the field and the issues associated with them, including (...)
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  20. Barbara Abbott (2009). Part V. Back to Grice: Conditionals in English and Fopl. In Dingfang Shu & Ken Turner (eds.), Contrasting Meanings in Languages of the East and West. Peter Lang.
    In the 1960’s, both Montague (e.g. 1970, 222) and Grice (1975, 24) famously declared that natural languages were not so different from the formal languages of logic as people had thought. Montague sought to comprehend the grammars of both within a single theory, and Grice sought to explain away apparent divergences as due to the fact that the former, but not the latter, were used for conversation. But, if we confine our concept of logic to first order predicate logic (or (...)
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  21. Barbara Abbott (2008). Issues in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Definite Descriptions in English. In Nancy Hedberg & Jeanette Gundel (eds.), Reference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 61-72.
  22. Barbara Abbott (2008). Presuppositions and Common Ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):523-538.
    This paper presents problems for Stalnaker’s common ground theory of presupposition. Stalnaker (Linguist and Philos 25:701–721, 2002) proposes a 2-stage process of utterance interpretation: presupposed content is added to the common ground prior to acceptance/rejection of the utterance as a whole. But this revision makes presupposition difficult to distinguish from assertion. A more fundamental problem is that the common ground theory rests on a faulty theory of assertion—that the essence of assertion is to present the content of an utterance as (...)
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  23. Barbara Abbott (2006). Definite and Indefinite. In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. 3--392.
  24. Barbara Abbott (2005). Proper Names and Language. In Greg N. Carlson & Francis Jeffry Pelletier (eds.), Reference and Quantification: The Partee Effect. Csli. 1--19.
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  25. Barbara Abbott (2003). A Reply to Szabó's “Descriptions and Uniqueness”. Philosophical Studies 113 (3):223 - 231.
  26. Barbara Abbott (2002). Donkey Demonstratives. Natural Language Semantics 10 (4):285-298.
    Donkey pronouns (e.g., it in Every farmer who owns a donkey beats it) are argued to have an interpretation more similar to a demonstrative phrase (e.g., . . . beats that donkey) than to any of the other alternatives generally considered (e.g., . . . the donkey(s) he owns, . . . a donkey he owns). Like the demonstrative phrase, the pronoun is not equivalent to Evans' E-type paraphrase, nor to either the weak or the strong reading sometimes claimed for (...)
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  27. Barbara Abbott (2002). Discussion Note. Journal of Semantics 19 (2).
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  28. Specificational Pseudoclefts, Barbara Abbott & Donkey Demonstratives (2002). Roger Schwarzschild and Karina Wilkinson. Natural Language Semantics 10 (305).
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  29. Barbara Abbott (2000). Fodor and Lepore on Meaning Similarity and Compositionality. Journal of Philosophy 97 (8):454-455.
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  30. Barbara Abbott (2000). Gilles Fauconnier, Mappings in Thought and Language. Minds and Machines 10 (1):157-161.
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  31. Barbara Abbott (1999). Water =H2O. Mind 108 (429):145 - 148.
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  32. Barbara Abbott (1999). Water =H 2 O. Mind 108 (429):145--8.
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  33. Barbara Abbott (1998). Seiki Akama, Ed., Logic, Language and Computation Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 18 (5):313-314.
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  34. Barbara Abbott (1997). A Note on the Nature of "Water". Mind 106 (422):311-319.
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  35. Barbara Abbott (1997). Models, Truth and Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 20 (2):117-138.
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  36. Barbara Abbott, Annette Herskovits, Philip L. Peterson, Alfred R. Mele, David J. Cole, Daniel Crevier, Francis Jeffry Pelletier, Istvan S. N. Berkeley, Brendan J. Kitts, Mike Brown & George Paliouras (1996). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 6 (2):239-285.
  37. Barbara Abbott (1995). Natural Language and Thought: Thinking in English. Behavior and Philosophy 23 (2):49-55.
     
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  38. Barbara Abbott (1995). Thinking Without English. Behavior and Philosophy 23 (2):49 - 55.
    Abbott replies to each of Hauser's arguments. Problem solving by chimpanzees and evidence of recursion in the thought of a feral human being suggest that natural language is not necessary for productive thought. Communication would be trivial if the inner language were the outer language, but it is not. The decryption analogy Hauser uses is flawed, and it is not clear which way Occam's razor cuts.
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  39. Barbara Abbott, Nicholas Asher, Jay Atlas, Kent Bach, Chris Barker, Stephen Barker, Renate Bartsch, Jonathan Bennett, Steven Borr & David Braun (1992). Linguistics Managing Editor. Linguistics and Philosophy 15:679-680.
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  40. Barbara Abbott (1989). Nondescriptionality and Natural Kind Terms. Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (3):269 - 291.
    The phrase "natural kind term" has come into the linguistic and philosophical literature in connection with well-known work of Kripke (1972) and Pulrmm (1970, 1975a). I use that phrase here in the sense it has acquired from those and subseqnent works on related topics. This is not the transparent sense of the phrase. That is, if I am right in what follows there are words for kinds of things existing in nature which are not natural kind terms in the current (...)
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  41. Barbara Abbott (1988). Review: E. M. Barth, R. T. P. Wiche, Problems, Functions and Semantic Roles. A Pragmatists' Analysis of Montague's Theory of Sentence Meaning. [REVIEW] Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (1):317-318.
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  42. Barbara Abbott & Grover Hudson (1981). Making Sense. Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (3):437-451.
    This would have been a better book if Sampson had argued his main point, the usefulness of the Simonian principle as an explanation of the evolution, structure, and acquisition of language, on its own merits, instead of making it subsidiary to his attack on ‘limited-minders’ (e.g., Noam Chomsky). The energy he has spent on the attack he might then have been willing and able to employ in developing his argument at reasonable length and detail. He might then have found that (...)
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  43. Barbara Abbott, Definiteness and Indefiniteness.
    The prototypes of definiteness and indefiniteness in English are the definite article the and the indefinite article a/an, and singular noun phrases (NPs)1 determined by them. That being the case it is not to be predicted that the concepts, whatever their content, will extend satisfactorily to other determiners or NP types. However it has become standard to extend these notions. Of the two categories definites have received rather more attention, and more than one researcher has characterized the category of definite (...)
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